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GREAT GALLERY OF EVOLUTION, see life in a different way

They don't speak, but they say everything about life. They are the specimens of the Great Gallery of Evolution. A mythical place opened in 1994, where modernity meets history and science, to tell the story of the great adventure of biodiversity. The Grande Galerie has also undergone many changes and since 2014 welcomes you under a naturalist light and sound atmosphere, those of a day in the savannah, from sunrise to sunset, crossed by a violent storm, animal cries and buzzing insects. The magic of the place created by Jules André in 1889 remains intact: an immense nave surrounded by three balconies lit by a 1,000 m² glass roof bears witness to the metal architecture of the time. Cast iron and glass mixed with woodwork are combined with modern equipment: LEDs, screens, to better enhance the restored collections. The monumental staircases are now accessible to you and reserve many surprises: models, statues, busts and even tombs...

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General Informations

  • From 10 am to 6 pm
  • Open every day except Tuesday, January 1, May 1 and December 25.
Conditions of free admission
  • Young people under 25 years of age who are EU residents, upon presentation of proof
  • Children under 3 years old with proof of age

Great gallery of evolution


On the first floor, three skeletons of marine mammals welcome you: southern whale, blue whale and sperm whale are gigantic. Further on, Wheke, the giant squid, spreads its tentacles. Around you, schools of tuna and mackerel sneak up on you. You have entered the world of silence. See how life flourishes in the darkness of the abyss, how coral reefs are built, how the species of the coastline live to the rhythm of the tides and the light.

From one land to another

Terrestrial species also adapt. On the first level, the elephant leads the caravan of animals from the African savannah. Large mammals and their predators follow suit. Buffalo, hartebeest, wildebeest, giraffe and zebra, hyenas, wild dogs, lions and cheetahs: guess who eats whom.

After the savannah, direction South America. Among the tenants of the high metal sculpture that reproduces the layering of the rainforest, you may recognize them: below, the tapir, anteater, armadillo, anaconda and jaguar; higher up, in the canopy, sloth, blue macaw and margay cat.

The journey continues under other latitudes. Everything seems to distinguish the Saharan fauna (dromedary, gazelle and sand fox) from that of the Arctic or Antarctic (polar bear, emperor penguin and harp seal). Except for their extreme living conditions!

Most of the residents were born in captivity or come from exchanges with other zoos. The Menagerie participates in many breeding programs for endangered species. The principle is to maintain viable populations of wild animals in captivity, which can be reintroduced in the wild, if their environment is stabilized or restored. Successful reintroductions include the Little Bustard in France, the Arabian Oryx - extinct in the wild - in the Arabian Peninsula, and the Golden Lion Tamarin in Brazil.

The adventure of evolution

In the upper balconies, you will learn more about the diversity of species. How can you do this? By discovering the history of living organisms and the adventure of the naturalists who have deciphered it. It's time to look at the secrets revealed by the observation and study of anatomy, fossils and molecules. Meet Lamarck, Darwin and Mendel. Learn essential notions to understand the mechanisms of life: the theory of evolution, the laws of genetics, the links of kinship or the classification of species...

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